Officials from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), along with some external consultants have recently tried out Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta software.
The test comes after the DMV has been critical of Tesla and FSD Beta. The agency launched a review earlier this year to determine if the driver-assist software should be considered as “autonomous” and therefore covered under their autonomous vehicle regulations.
More recently in August the DMV has also accused Tesla of misrepresenting the features of its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving software in their advertising.
After all of this the DMV appears to have finally got their hands on a Model Y equipped with FSD Beta, although it is unclear if Tesla provided them with a vehicle for a demonstration or whether the agency went around Tesla and rented one off Turo.
According to a report from Bloomberg, the demonstration of FSD Beta happened last week at the DMV’s headquarters in Sacramento. The report is based on internal emails obtained through a public records request, and says that Tesla provided the demonstration to a DMV deputy secretary, as well as head of the California Highway Patrol and three outside advisers for the DMV.
The report does not state who, if anyone, from Tesla was in attendance.
UPDATE 2:43pm PT: Bloomberg has confirmed with Drive Tesla that cars and drivers were provided by Tesla for the demonstration. The emails reviewed did not contain the names of any of the Tesla employees who attended.
Among the three advisers was Bryant Walker Smith, an affiliate scholar at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, who seems to have rented a Model Y with FSD Beta from Turo for the demonstration.
This fact was uncovered by our friends over at The Kilowatts, who recognized Smith’s name from one their rentals last week. After reaching out to Smith, he confirmed that the Model Y was used in the demonstration, saying it “was incredibly helpful in understanding the current state of Tesla’s technologies.”
The rental took place from the morning of October 25 to late on October 26.
It is possible Tesla did attend, and did provide a vehicle with FSD Beta for the demonstration. If that is the case then this Model Y could have been rented to ensure that the software in the vehicle provided was not altered in any way to be different from the FSD Beta that is currently being used by over 160,000 testers in Canada and the US.
We have reached out to Bloomberg for confirmation that Tesla was actually in attendance during the two-day testing of FSD Beta, and if so, who was there. We will update this article if we get a response.